288931_3Bovine Dragon Software's curious original iPhone game Gomi has just been released into the App Store. The premise of the game is as follows:

The world has been overrun by civilization. With the expansion of mankind, the amount of preserved ecosystems is dwindling. It's up to the gomies to make the world beautiful again!

You play Gomi who is a round creature that is on a mission to save the planet.

The game is structured as a cross between Rolando and I Love Katamari. The game is controlled using the iPhone's tilt control to roll Gomi left and right. Tapping anywhere on the screen makes him jump. Gomi can jump over objects or onto other platforms which influence the direction of gravity, so you the world might turn 90 degrees or even upside down once when you jump -- overall, this actually works pretty well.

Gomi can consume objects he rolls over. This includes pretty much anything in his path, including trash, equipment, cars, buildings and even people. At the start of each level, Gomi can only consume the smallest items but as he eats more he can progressively eat larger and larger objects. This progression becomes the basis for some of the stage-specific goals that you have to achieve. Each stage asks you to accomplish a certain task. This could include eating up all the cars on the level, or eating two shopping centers. Obviously, you can't just eat a shopping center right off, so you're left exploring and consuming all the small items first.

Gomis are also customizable as you unlock special abilities. At first the only special ability you have is a super jump that is invoked when you tap on the Gomi itself. This special ability needs time to recharge, so you can't use it in rapid sequence. Other abilities are unlocked over time - the second unlockable allows Gomi to inflate to a large size to eat larger items and jump further.

288931_5The game is said to include over 140 stages across 8 unique worlds with 12 hours of play. Gomi also includes 8 mini-games (including a Match 3) that can be played with the Gomi characters. High scores for all regular stages and these mini games are syncable to a global high score server.

Since the game just came out tonight, we've only had a short amount of time with it. When first approaching the game, if you approach it like I did, you're going too feel that Gomi rolls to slowly. This is not a fast action platformer, and despite the timed trials, there's more of a methodical pace to the game. You do adjust to this slower pace, which then gives way to a certain satisfaction as you systematically consume the objects in your path. I expect it feeds the same compulsion for those gamers who enjoyed Katarmi Damacy.

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what I thought of the game until I hit the boss level of World 1, and after I made it past that, I became eager to see what was next. From what I've seen so far, there is a cleverness to the level design and the intentionally primitive graphics contribute to the overall feel of the game. It's clear that a lot of effort went into this game.

While it's hard to give a final verdict without completing the game (I'm on World 2), it seems clear that if you are looking for a different or original game, Gomi is one to try, especially at only $1.99. More impressions will be rolling into the forum discussion thread.

App Store Link: Gomi, $1.99

  • Shin0bi

    Looks boring. I'll pass.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com Jose

      It's difficult for me to understand why someone would read an article on TouchArcade, decide that the game featured looks boring, and bother to actually let write a comment to that effect. I mean, if the game looks boring to you, move on to something else. Leave the comments for people who actually care.

      • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

        "Looks boring." is also a statement, and opinion which can be shared.
        I also don't want to see just positive comments, that would be strange.
        I feel the same a bit. I'm somehow interested, somehow not, still thinking about wether getting it or not. But it shold be allowed to criticize!

      • Shin0bi

        Jose is boring. I'll pass ;]

  • Shin0bi

    Looks boring. I'll pass.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com Jose

      It's difficult for me to understand why someone would read an article on TouchArcade, decide that the game featured looks boring, and bother to actually let write a comment to that effect. I mean, if the game looks boring to you, move on to something else. Leave the comments for people who actually care.

      • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

        "Looks boring." is also a statement, and opinion which can be shared.
        I also don't want to see just positive comments, that would be strange.
        I feel the same a bit. I'm somehow interested, somehow not, still thinking about wether getting it or not. But it shold be allowed to criticize!

      • Shin0bi

        Jose is boring. I'll pass ;]

  • Richard Jones

    I bought it straight up and found it quite neat. I've played the first couple of worlds though and ran into two annoyances. One that I spent a long time on the second world trying to find something to eat. The other that in the third play of the game where I had to eat signposts and I spent ages trying to find the last one - in the end I had eaten *everything* except some traffic signals next to a geyser, so I ate that and it turns out they were signposts. So a little frustrating, but it definitely has promise. Having some way to view more of the world would make it a much better game.

    • arn

      If you hit the Menu button, you get an overview map, and there are shimmering stars on things that indicate what you still have to eat (I'm pretty sure).

  • Richard Jones

    I bought it straight up and found it quite neat. I've played the first couple of worlds though and ran into two annoyances. One that I spent a long time on the second world trying to find something to eat. The other that in the third play of the game where I had to eat signposts and I spent ages trying to find the last one - in the end I had eaten *everything* except some traffic signals next to a geyser, so I ate that and it turns out they were signposts. So a little frustrating, but it definitely has promise. Having some way to view more of the world would make it a much better game.

    • arn

      If you hit the Menu button, you get an overview map, and there are shimmering stars on things that indicate what you still have to eat (I'm pretty sure).

  • Teslanaut

    Please refrain from using "Different or Original" if you compared this game saying:

    "The game is structured as a cross between Rolando and I Love Katamari."

    • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

      +1 :)

  • Teslanaut

    Please refrain from using "Different or Original" if you compared this game saying:

    "The game is structured as a cross between Rolando and I Love Katamari."

    • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

      +1 :)

  • SpriteAttack

    As a computer game artist games like these just make me wonder - how can a big publisher take on a game like this and leave these 'half baked" excuses for game art in there... I noticed it's a been a trend for a while - a "everyone can do game art" feeling... which doesn't help make games better... just the look and feel of this one is enough to make me pass it...

    • spiffyone

      *sighs

      The dev (a single individual, iirc) drew the art this way INTENTIONALLY.

      It's supposed to mimic the style of art that a child would draw. And not that phony "capturing the 'spirit' of art created by small children" but rather "this is how a small child draws". That was the artsist's intent, and they succeeded.

      Seriously, you're statement reminds me of foolhardy cinematographers who think their main objective is to capture a "beautiful image" when really the job is to capture the scene.and milieu of the film's story (whether or not it is "beautiful" is not the main objective). Something to think about.

      • SpriteAttack

        "The dev (a single individual, iirc) drew the art this way INTENTIONALLY." intentionally or not is not the point - it doesn't look consistent. The "ten year old art style" works fine with me or crayon style or wrinkled paper with doodles on it - as long as it's consistent. This app just looks like a mix of artstyles [kiddie crayons [even though it's more a grown ups idea of child drawings, outlined drawing, particle kind effect]. Which to me just cries out coder art with no art direction. My point was that art direction might have helped make it a better game and for a publisher to approve the game as is without making some art direction calls is a questionable call.

      • arn

        I think where your logic falls apart is the assumption that there is a "publisher". you don't need a publisher on the app store.

    • Teslanaut

      You should actually play the game. The art being the way it is, the game is actually fun. Even the Mini games, though based on many other games, are actually fun. Its like having several games in one along with it's own main game.

  • SpriteAttack

    As a computer game artist games like these just make me wonder - how can a big publisher take on a game like this and leave these 'half baked" excuses for game art in there... I noticed it's a been a trend for a while - a "everyone can do game art" feeling... which doesn't help make games better... just the look and feel of this one is enough to make me pass it...

    • spiffyone

      *sighs

      The dev (a single individual, iirc) drew the art this way INTENTIONALLY.

      It's supposed to mimic the style of art that a child would draw. And not that phony "capturing the 'spirit' of art created by small children" but rather "this is how a small child draws". That was the artsist's intent, and they succeeded.

      Seriously, you're statement reminds me of foolhardy cinematographers who think their main objective is to capture a "beautiful image" when really the job is to capture the scene.and milieu of the film's story (whether or not it is "beautiful" is not the main objective). Something to think about.

      • SpriteAttack

        "The dev (a single individual, iirc) drew the art this way INTENTIONALLY." intentionally or not is not the point - it doesn't look consistent. The "ten year old art style" works fine with me or crayon style or wrinkled paper with doodles on it - as long as it's consistent. This app just looks like a mix of artstyles [kiddie crayons [even though it's more a grown ups idea of child drawings, outlined drawing, particle kind effect]. Which to me just cries out coder art with no art direction. My point was that art direction might have helped make it a better game and for a publisher to approve the game as is without making some art direction calls is a questionable call.

      • arn

        I think where your logic falls apart is the assumption that there is a "publisher". you don't need a publisher on the app store.

    • Teslanaut

      You should actually play the game. The art being the way it is, the game is actually fun. Even the Mini games, though based on many other games, are actually fun. Its like having several games in one along with it's own main game.

  • http://rigid-chips.com Thorero

    I've actually been quite looking forward to this app, I had iTunes ready, clicked the iTunes store link, and just happened to glance down at the "Requirements"

    "Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch
    Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later"

    Now I know I should upgrade, I know I should do a lot of things, but is it so hard for the developers to make their apps backwards compatible with an 2.2?

    BovineDragon, you have just lost $1.99.

    • spiffyone

      Read the forum link.

      The dev is releasing an update soon that will make it OS 2.v compatible. The current release for only 3.0 was a mistake (he apparently hit the wrong button or something).

  • http://rigid-chips.com Thorero

    I've actually been quite looking forward to this app, I had iTunes ready, clicked the iTunes store link, and just happened to glance down at the "Requirements"

    "Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch
    Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later"

    Now I know I should upgrade, I know I should do a lot of things, but is it so hard for the developers to make their apps backwards compatible with an 2.2?

    BovineDragon, you have just lost $1.99.

    • spiffyone

      Read the forum link.

      The dev is releasing an update soon that will make it OS 2.v compatible. The current release for only 3.0 was a mistake (he apparently hit the wrong button or something).

  • Brett

    The game seems interesting. The graphics seem under done but that is perhaps they are meant to be stylized, although I would say Rolando does a more polished job with that. For me, however, it is not the art style or game play that bothers me but the philosophy behind it. It disappoints me to see games like this take a somewhat political view that if we destroy mankind and everything accomplished by man that the world will be "saved". This reminds me of Tornado Mania, which I played as well. I would rather take the approach of conservation and man being a good steward of this Earth so that we and future generations can enjoy the benefits of what is offered to us through the natural environment. Let's learn responsibility not a philosophy of hate towards the existence of man. That will get us nowhere.

  • Brett

    The game seems interesting. The graphics seem under done but that is perhaps they are meant to be stylized, although I would say Rolando does a more polished job with that. For me, however, it is not the art style or game play that bothers me but the philosophy behind it. It disappoints me to see games like this take a somewhat political view that if we destroy mankind and everything accomplished by man that the world will be "saved". This reminds me of Tornado Mania, which I played as well. I would rather take the approach of conservation and man being a good steward of this Earth so that we and future generations can enjoy the benefits of what is offered to us through the natural environment. Let's learn responsibility not a philosophy of hate towards the existence of man. That will get us nowhere.

  • Sticktron

    Hardly "unique" if it's half Rolando / half Katamari isn't it?

  • Sticktron

    Hardly "unique" if it's half Rolando / half Katamari isn't it?

  • Hobbs

    This is a load of BS. Bovinedragon Software said that this game out be released April 2009, then in April, the dev said "Coming very soon". You mean August? That's 4 months of "Very soon". That's just a lack of commitment. I think this game should be free for waiting so long. Plus, probably majority of ipod touch users haven't spent 10 bucks to upgrade. I'm very disappointed in the developer.

    • cookiemonster

      you think it should be free because you had to wait?! that is the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard. sometimes things dont go according to plan and the whole process has to be pushed back. im sure the devs of this game would have rather it been released months ago then now...apparently it just wasnt possible.

  • Hobbs

    This is a load of BS. Bovinedragon Software said that this game out be released April 2009, then in April, the dev said "Coming very soon". You mean August? That's 4 months of "Very soon". That's just a lack of commitment. I think this game should be free for waiting so long. Plus, probably majority of ipod touch users haven't spent 10 bucks to upgrade. I'm very disappointed in the developer.

    • cookiemonster

      you think it should be free because you had to wait?! that is the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard. sometimes things dont go according to plan and the whole process has to be pushed back. im sure the devs of this game would have rather it been released months ago then now...apparently it just wasnt possible.

  • Greg

    Craptastic visuals, ironically poor art direction just jumped the shark!

  • Greg

    Craptastic visuals, ironically poor art direction just jumped the shark!

  • coconutbowling

    C'mon hobbes. Being released later means more work was put into it, therby making it a better game.

  • coconutbowling

    C'mon hobbes. Being released later means more work was put into it, therby making it a better game.